Biden Axes Trump's Ban on Communist Chinese Apps TikTok, WeChat
Trump banned TikTok, WeChat, and Alipay from U.S. apps stores last year
Joe Biden has signed a new executive order which revokes Donald Trump's ban on the popular Chinese owned social media apps TikTok and WeChat.
Biden signed the executive order on Wednesday and will instruct the commerce secretary to investigate apps with links to foreign adversaries posing a risk to American national security.
The order comes amid a slew of Trump executive orders which were axed by Biden earlier this year.
Trump banned TikTok, WeChat, and Alipay from U.S. apps stores last year.
But many of the effects of the order were stalled by ongoing court challenges.
Biden's order will establish a new framework to determine national security risks of transactions involving apps connected to foreign adversaries, such as China.
Most recently, TikTok amended its terms and conditions to indicate it would collect data from users, including their “faceprint.”
A senior Biden administration official said on Wednesday:
“The administration is committed to promoting an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet and to protecting human rights online and offline, and to supporting a vibrant global digital economy."
"The challenge that we’re addressing with this EO is that certain countries, including China, do not share these commitments or values and are instead working to leverage digital technologies and American data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks.”
The order called on the Commerce Department to work to craft recommendations to protect against the collection of sensitive U.S. consumer data from China.
But the order does not take into account investigations taken by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which Trump set deadlines for apps like TikTok to divest itself from its Chinese owner ByteDance.
“The CFIUS action remains under active discussion by the US government,” a senior administration official said Wednesday.
TikTok, which has grown its user base to an estimated one billion worldwide, has consistently denied any links to the Chinese government, as critics warn of potential security risks because of its Chinese-based parent firm ByteDance.
The number of American users has been estimated to be as high as 80 million a month - although because the company is not publicly traded, the estimate by outside analysts is impossible to verify.
Last year, TikTok spokeswoman Jamie Favazza said the company's growing U.S. team has no higher priority than promoting a safe app experience that protects users' privacy.
"Millions of American families use TikTok for entertainment, and creative expression, which we recognize is not what federal government devices are for," she said.